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Speaking to the Soul: But Now . . .

Speaking to the Soul: But Now . . .

Week of Proper 18, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 119:49-72 (morning) // 49, [53] (evening)

Job 29:1; 30:1-2, 16-31

Acts 14:19-28

John 11:1-16

Two of the most painful words to hear just might be, “but now . . .” For Job, these words are a refrain that divides his former glory from his present pain. Once upon a time, people listened to Job and took his advice, and they waited on his every word. But now? “But now they make sport of me, those who are younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to set with the dogs of my flock.”

Elsewhere in this chapter, “but now” appears as “and now.” Job once knew the joy of having his children gathered around him, of having the company of friends. And now? “And now they mock me in song; I am a byword to them” (Job 30:9). Job once felt the presence of God watching over him, and he felt God’s friendship. And now? “And now my soul is poured out within me; days of affliction have taken hold of me.”

It seems like Job could sing right along with Janis Joplin: “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday.” Throughout the full versions of the chapters of Job that our first reading is drawn from, Job contrasts his present reality with the days “when I was in my prime.” How does our own present compare to our past today? Let us pray for a faith that can help us to live through those days that measure up so tragically against the seasons when we were in our prime, or against our finest hopes and dreams.

Lora Walsh blogs about the Daily Office readings at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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